Collaborating to Help Indigenous Communities in Mexico April 21 2019, 28 Comments
We are really excited to announce that Shoptezuma is joining forces with the Fundacion Kanxoc in Mexico to bring you the amazing artisanal products from the Mayan community called Kanxoc, located in Yucatan, Mexico.
In our search for great products from Mexico, we strive to find those that represent the best of Mexican culture, with top-notch quality and that can help local producers, artisans and communities develop their talents and capabilities to reach more people. This is just a sample of how Shoptezuma can accomplish all these, by collaborating with an up-and-coming foundation that is helping people in far out places, to bring development into their communities.
Based on the values of honesty, collaboration, trust, equality, respect and identity, the Kanxoc Foundation promotes the collective work of craftsmen and women of Kanxoc with self-sustaining projects that strengthen Mayan traditions and techniques used for design and fabrication of handcrafts. Kanxoc supports the collective work of craftsmen and women of the Mayan community called Kanxoc located in the state of Yucatan, Mexico and their self-sustaining projects strengthen Mayan traditions and techniques used for the design and fabrication of our products.
The products that Kanxoc has developed range from fashionable clothing and accessories, to gorgeous technology accessories and household items. Check them out:
You can see the full collection here.
As we continue our collaboration with Kanxoc, we encourage you to give us your feedback about what you like and what you’d like to see more. Feel free to email us at support (at) shoptezuma (dot) com and give us your feedback.
Meet the Artesano: Eduardo Alcalá July 10 2017, 26 Comments
This next artesano in our series, is a crafty gentleman from the state of Michoacán, México named Eduardo Alcalá.
Here is Don Eduardo's story in his own words:
"As far as inspiration is concerned, I have to admit that many times it's the leather itself that suggests the bag's shape. Designs depend on the quality of the leather, on the shapes or objects I see around, on current trends… and they even depend on the mood I'm in!"
"My name is Eduardo Alcalá Valencia, and I began to work with tooled leather in the state of Michoacán, where I am from. I made saddles, linings, pants, etc. Then I made shoes and dressage.
"One day I received a telegram with some money in it, inviting me to go to the state of Jalisco to work, and I accepted. After a week, the workshop owner approached me and asked if I knew how to make belts, to which I replied yes. He told me to leave what I was doing and took me to another part of the workshop, where I made belts. Soon I was promoted to master, given my own working table, and I coordinated a team. I was given the freedom to create my own designs.
"One day my wife asked me to make her a coin purse, and when the people at the workshop saw what I had done, they liked it and asked if could do it in a larger size. That's how I began making bags. Sometimes they would bring me some samples to replicate, but most of the time I worked on my own designs.
"As time passed by I became workshop manager, and I developed a good working and personal relationship with the owner, Max. We even became compadres. After a while things changed and problems arose, so I decided to set up my own workshop, where I specialize in belts and bags.
"As far as inspiration is concerned, I have to admit that many times it's the leather itself that suggests the bag's shape. Designs depend on the quality of the leather, on the shapes or objects I see around, on current trends… and they even depend on the mood I'm in!
"Amongst the challenges I have had to face, I am proud to say that I have been able to support my family. Even though this is a beautiful profession and the results are equally beautiful, it is also a difficult profession because sometimes people would rather buy from intermediaries than directly from the person who made the item. This unfortunately affects the artisan, because we earn a lot less than we should."
Don Eduardo's products include these two amazing leather handbags available in our store:
"My designs are filled with Mexican sentiment, because in Mexico we do not only revere death (Day of the Dead celebrations), we also revere life. This is reflected in the work of artisans who infuse their products with life.
"I would like to see my type of work preserved, and I also want to show it to the whole wide world. It would give a great sense of satisfaction to know that my work is recognized and admired throughout the world. It would even be better if my work was recognized in my Mexico.
"I would like to assure customers that my products are entirely crafted by hand, with quality materials, which makes each piece a work of art. Since I make each piece by hand from leather, there can be slight imperfections, which should not be regarded as defects, but rather as a testimony to the authenticity of the material and the handcrafted process."
Please come back later for more updates on our amazing artesanos from México.
Meet the Artesano - Angela Quiñones May 28 2017, 25 Comments
One of the newest artesanos whose products join our collection of fabulous products from Mexico is Angela Quiñones. Angela is from Oaxaca and has an amazing ability to produce beautiful handmade shawls you can find in our store.
Here's Angela's story in her own words:
"My art is unique and you won't find my designs among any other artisans. All my weavings are completely crafted by hand, and I have a very special technique."
"I'm Angela Quiñones Martinez, born in Oaxaca on June 1, 1971. I work mostly at weaving cotton tablecloths and bedspreads on a traditional Zapotec loom. My parents taught me. When I was a little girl, they wove cotton tablecloths and, when I grew older, I learned the art.
"Because of our economic situation, I was only able to finish primary school before starting to help them full time with their weavings. It was good practice, so I could learn to make tablecloths very well. Eventually, I began creating my own designs.
"I can't remember exactly when I started as an artisan. I feel like it's my family legacy and, since I wasn't able to continue my schooling, I decided to do what I already knew how to do.
"I'm sure my parents must have finished my first pieces for me, because I was just a child. I remember my first design was a small placemat in yellow and orange. I don't know what happened to it. Maybe it was sold.
"When I was 21, I got married. My husband comes from a family of artisans who weave traditional wool rugs, so we dedicate more time to making rugs. His name is Israel Ruiz Bazan, the head of the Ruiz Bazan family [Novica-featured artisans]. I left my own weavings aside and it wasn't until 2010 that I decided to start making cotton table linens, bedspreads and throws.
"I set up my own workshop where I create my own designs, which I've shown in a few artisan exhibits. My inspiration comes from everything I see in nature and what I am able to achieve by manipulating color combinations.
"I enjoy visiting my parents and going for walks in the countryside.
"At one time of my life, I went through some tough times. In the village where I live, we women are expected to look after the house and children, cook and clean, and work in the corn fields. We didn't have enough money, so my husband had to work all day and I really didn't have much time to weave. My priority was seeing that the children ate, got dressed and got to school.
"But with the help of my husband's family, I was able to weave when I had a free moment. Novica has done much to help the Ruiz Bazan family. With what we earn from our weavings, we've been able to send our children to school, and now I have time to weave my own designs.
"I have four children — three boys and a girl. The oldest is about to graduate from college and we're so proud of him. The next one is about to finish high school. The youngest boy has completed junior high and, like his brothers, is going on to high school. The youngest, my daughter, is in elementary school. It is my children who motivate my husband and me to be better every day.
"My art is unique and you won't find my designs among any other artisans. All my weavings are completely crafted by hand, and I have a very special technique that distinguishes my work from everyone else's. I began using it only recently and I call it 'black foot.' I hope you like my designs and that one day you'll come visit the area where I work. The doors are open to you."
Here are Angela's creations in our store:
Let us know what you think about Angela's creation in the comments section below.
Thanks for reading!
The excerpt above was originally published in Novica.com.
Meet the Artesano - Ana Maria Gonzalez May 21 2017, 25 Comments
The latest artesano in our series is Ana Maria Gonzalez, a skilled craft worker from Mexico who specializes in wood work, providing beautiful work particularly in decoupage crafts. Read more about her:
"My designs reveal a tiny bit of Mexico that I carry in my heart."
"Hi. I'm Ana Maria González, and for as long as I can remember I've been in contact with arts and crafts. My whole family produced them in one way or another and whenever we'd visit our relatives, my cousins and I would end up making something for fun.
"After I married, my husband and I created various kinds of handicrafts, but the need to make something different led me to launch my own line of designs. I began making decorative boxes, painted by hand with different finishes. Today I create boxes with antique motifs.
"First we craft the box of pinewood. We sand it and then decorate it. Currently, I am working in decoupage, adding an antique finish with a special formula I mix myself.
"My designs reveal a tiny bit of Mexico that I carry in my heart."
Here is some of Ana Maria's work, available in Shoptezuma:
Please check Ana Maria's products and let us know what they think in the comments below.